Burr Elementary hosts ‘Trashion Show’ to benefit area nonprofit
FAIRFIELD — For more than a decade, Burr Elementary School third-grade teacher Mei-Ling Uliasz has brought her former work with the Jane Goodall Institute back to Fairfield.
In her capacity as an elementary school teacher, Uliasz has introduced her students to Goodall’s work with chimpanzees and the environment through the youth service initiative, Roots and Shoots, which encourages children to make a positive impact on their community and environment, and help animals.
The celebration of Fairfield’s Roots and Shoots program usually came at the town’s annual Earth Day celebration. But when the town discontinued its Earth Day festivities, Uliasz was undeterred.
“We decided we don’t want to stop this; we want to keep it going, so we decided to have it here,” said Uliasz after the annual Trashion Show on April 27, for which students in grades two through five repurposed recycled items to create outfits modeled for their classmates, this year hosted at Burr for the first time.
According to Uliasz, “trashion” is a portmanteau of the words trash and fashion.
“It’s a movement to show people that they can creatively re-use items, whether they’re saving things from the trash or repurposing things, to make fashion,” Uliasz said.
In class, students were given a bag of materials and tape, and had to complete a “Project Runway”-style challenge and create an outfit in 10 minutes. After the initial trial, students were allowed to take their outfits home.
“I gave them planning packets and said they were going to design with hopes in mind. It could be hopes for the environment, hope for what you want to be when you’re older, hope for animals,” Uliasz said.
For the first time this year, proceeds from the event and subsequent fundraising efforts will go to New Canaan-based nonprofit Halle’s Hope, begun by a former Burr teacher, Marilee Root.
“Mrs. Root, Halle’s mom, created Halle’s Hope to spread hope and kindness and create possibilities for children all over the United States, and they’ve done amazing projects that inspire and help children and families in need,” said Burr first-grade teacher Julie Sherwood.
The Trashion Show was the first of several fundraising efforts to aid Halle’s Hope. The Burr community also participated in “Hats for Hope,” in which they were encouraged to wear silly hats and donate $1. Students will also raise money ahead of “Jump Rope for Hope,” a June 1 event from which proceeds will go to Halle’s Hope.
“We’re very interested in Halle’s Hope and want it to continue to thrive like it has,” Uliasz said. “We hope that it grows bigger and bigger and bigger.”
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